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February 04, 2014 - Image 1

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 2014-02-04

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Ann Arbor, Michigan

Tuesday, February 4, 2014


Reviews of
classes low

Heather Gerken, a professor at Yale Law School, speaks about the real problem with Citizens United at the Ford School of Public Policy Monday.
Al Citizens

Yale professor
discusses issues of
2010 Supreme
Court case
For the Daily
University alum Heather
Gerken, a law professor at Yale
University, spoke about issues
related to the historic Supreme
Court case Citizens United v.
Federal Election Commission
case to more than 100 attendees.
The 2010 case granted corpora-
tions the financial rights of indi-

viduals in regards to campaign
finance, "dark money" and shad-
ow parties.
Undergraduate and gradu-
ate students in the Ford School
of Public Policy, students from
the Law School and community
members were among those in
attendance for Gerken's three-
part presentation.
In the first section, Gerken
offered a brief history of cam-
paign finance reform. She
argued that Citizens United
plays an important role in the
relationship between indepen-
dent spending and corruption.
Later, she explained how the
court's decision may push the,
party system toward one domi-

nated by powerful "shadow par-
ties." Gerken added that "shadow
parties" risk undermine the
influence of the "party faith-
ful," who connect party elites to
everyday citizens.
Audience memberswere given
notecards to write down ques-
tions and people watching a live
stream of the event tweeted their
questions at the Ford School.
"I have to say (the Ford stu-
dents) asked fantastic questions,
and I have a lot of hats," Gerken
said before the event. "I've
been an elections lawyer for
the Obama campaign, I've done
reform work, and they had good
questions on pretty much every
topic. And for me this stuff is like

popcorn, so I'm happy to munch
"She is an important voice in
the field and the topic was inter-
esting," Rackham student Conor
McKay said. "The more that
people know about these issues,
understand these issues and can
hear what's in the media and get
a sense of what they're actually
talking about, the better."
After the lecture, a reception
was held outside the auditorium
to allow students, faculty and
community members to eat and
continue the conversation.
"I thought it was very
thought-provoking," Rackham
student Dana Sherry said. "I was
See ALUM, Page 3

'U' receives low
course evaluation
rates since switch to
online platform
Daily StaffReporter
At the University, course and
teacher evaluations are deemed
vital to both administration and
faculty, but often neglected by
the students who fill them out.
The data itself is kept in-house,
locked away at the Office of the
Registrar, and the response rates
are low compared to other uni-
However, for faculty, student
evaluations can mean the dif-
ference between depositing a
paycheck and dipping into emer-
gency funds.
"Turns out there are pretty
high stakes for us," Political Sci-
ence Prof. Mika LaVaque-Manty
said. "(Evaluations) are involved
in promotion, for GSI's in terms of
retention and for lecturers - who
are judged purely on the basis of
their contribution to teaching -
they literally may be a matter of
job or no job."
When faculty members in line

for promotion are assessed by
their respective departments,
student evaluations play a large
role in the decision. Deborah
Loewenberg Ball, dean of the
School of Education, said student
evaluations weigh heavily on the
whole portfolio and influence the
committee's ultimate decision.
"You can't get promoted at this
University if you have bad teach-
ing evaluations," Ball said. "You
could be a great researcher, you
could be doing all types of things
professionally, but if your course
evaluations are poor, and there's
evidence that your teaching isn't
good, you won't get promoted."
However the data suggests
students aren't as invested in the
process. In the 2012'fall semes-
ter, only56 percent of all students
responded to course evaluation
surveys. For the past few years,
the rate has been treading just
slightly above 50 percent.
Two factors may explain the
low response: the University's
transition frompaper toelectron-
ic evaluations in 2008, and a lack
of incentive for students to take
the time to fillthem out.
Before the 2008 winter term,
evaluations were filled out on
paper and administered in class,
meaning all students attending
See REVIEWS, Page 3

CSG seeks to
investigate the
Gibbons case

Proppe signs
executive order to
establish task force
for further probing
Daily StaffReporter
Late Monday evening, the
Central Student Government
has created an executive task-
force to examine the University's
relativelynewsexual misconduct
policy and review its implemen-
tation in Brendan Gibbons' per-
manent seperation.
According to documents
reviewed by The Michigan Daily,
Gibbons was permanently sepa-
rated from the University in late
December after being found
responsible for a 2009 violation
of the Student Sexual Miscon-
duct Policy.
Business senior Michael
Proppe, CSG president, signed
an executive order Monday night
establishing the taskforce to
probe into actions taken by the
office of Student Conflict Reso-
lution in Gibbons' case.
"Following The Daily's arti-
cles, there was a lot of confu-
sion among students and across
the entire University commu-
nity about how exactly this new

sexual misconduct policy works,
and how it works with respect to
cases that took place under the
old policy," Proppe said.
The University changed its
sexual misconduct policy in
September 2013, shifting from a
complaint-driven model to one
propelled by University investi-
Law student Jeremy Keeney,
CSG student general counsel,
said the University now pursues
all cases of sexual misconduct
regardless of whether or not the
victim desires an investigation.
"The old policy is more sexual
assault-based and the new policy
broadens that to sexual miscon-
duct," Keeney said. "So it seems
that there may be things that are
included in the new policy that
weren't in the old one."
Proppe added that the Uni-
versity's policy in 2009--the
year Gibbons allegedly violated
the code of conduct--required
"clear and convincing evidence"
to take action, whereas the 2013
policy seeks "preponderance of
evidence." He added that this is a
"much lower standard."
one of the taskforce's goals is
to determine which policy was
applied in Gibbons' removal from
the University. Others include
inquiring as to whether or not
oSCR delayed the investigation
See CSG, Page 3

Protestors gather in front of the Federal Building Monday to protest the Keystone Pipeline.
Protestors call for Obama
to halt Keystone pipeline

With $1.3M,
create grant
for research
Program will be
funded by a Mellon
Foundation gift
Daily StaffReporter
The Taubman College of
Architecture and Urban Plan-
ningreceived a$1.3-milliongrant
Monday from the Andrew W.
Mellon Foundation. The gift will
fund architecture and humani-
ties research on metropolitan
issues in cities like Detroit, Mexi-
co City and Rio de Janeiro for the
next four-and-half years.
The Mellon Foundation deliv-
ered the "Architecture, Urban-
ism, and the Humanities" grant
to the University, which supports
scholarship andhighereducation
at the intersection of architec-
ture and the humanities.
The grant willgo toward a new
program in the college of archi-
tecture called "Egalitarianism
and the Contemporary Metropo-
lis," which Taubman Associate
Dean Milton S.F. Curry said will
better educate student architects
as to making the projects they're
working on "more accessible,
more palpable and more positive
as an experience for a variety of
See TAUBMAN, Page 3

Construction of
controversial oil
route may endanger
Daily StaffReporter
"Stop the pipeline!"
The chant resounded across
East Liberty Street and South
5th Avenue on. Monday night,
when more than 20 students
and Ann Arbor locals peti-

tioned the construction of the
Keystone XL pipeline, an oil
line expected to cause hazard-
ous environmental effects.
The protest took place out-
side of the Ann Arbor Fed-
eral Building. It was one of
many united KXL protests
that occurred throughout the
country supported by CREDO,
National Rainforest Network,
the Sierra Club, 350.org and a
number of other associations
dedicated to environmental
KXL is a proposed 1,179-
mile pipeline that will trans-

port up to 830,000 barrels
of oil per day from Alberta,
Canada to the Gulf of Mexico,
traveling through multiple U.S.
Protestors gathered in
response to the U.S. Depart-
ment of State's Final Supple-
mental Environmental Impact
Statement regarding KXL,
which was released Friday.
Many of the protestors believe
this statement invited presi-
dential approval of construc-
At the vigil, protestors
See KEYSTONE, Page 3

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